So this holiday season has been a bit of a stretch on the wallet. With tying the knot in May, 8 weddings to finish the 2013 season, 30+ Bach/Bachelorette & Showers, a remodeled kitchen and the significant setback of placing our daughter in Montessori, it’s been one hell of a year! Simply put, we are broke! And no, we aren’t eating Ramen every night but I’m not out buying myself the latest Prada either. (AS IF I ever was before!) HA. We are getting by for now but this process has definitely got me thinking outside the box….. But through my obsession with Pinterest, Etsy and my ability to think up a craft over a simple cup of tea, I’ve decided that this year my best girlfriends are getting a simple yet personal gift of my choosing!
Along with the help of some simple computer skills, (and trust me when I say simple) a little patience for downloading some outrageously fun fonts, and a Costco Membership I have come up with the idea to create a chalkboard poster with out all the excessive chalk paint and additional expenses! As I am a HUGE fan of the rustic/vintage themes lately. *Our entire wedding was rustic everything. . . . I have compromised authentic with creative and come up with a thoughtful gift I hope they will truly enjoy.
You see, my two best friends, Heather & Rachel ( & Dual Maid of Honors), just recently moved in together. Roommates since college, I sometimes still pine for the days we could watch One Tree Hill and eat movie theatre popcorn in between classes. (Yes Heather would literally stop at the movie theatre on her way home just to purchase a large popcorn. . . . No she wasn’t high.) No responsibilities and zero motivation, it was a magical time. To be honest I can’t say I even watched any of their shows. . . I was never much of a TV person growing up but I loved to sit in the room and interrupt the most important points in each episode. . . . I’m sure anyone that knows me is not in any way shocked by this. In all actuality, I was a late bloomer when it came to watching addictive television. It hit me around age 25 when I was on maternity leave, right about the time when everyone on planet earth had placed the shows I was just starting in the category of “that’s so last decade”. . . . due to a little bug I caught called NetFlix. I mean honestly, have you people ever tried to watch just ONE episode of Grey’s Anatomy on that thing, OR Gossip Girl for that matter?? It’s like one episode just rolls right into the other, it’s impossible to get off the train. A whole new world for me. . . or a lack there of. I’m not entirely sure.
Regardless, Once we graduated we all went our separate ways. Heather moved off to San Diego after college and Rachel stayed at home in Rochester pursuing careers in the automotive arena. I stuck out the introduction of this Great Recession in the bar for another year following graduation only to land myself a marketing career in the greater Detroit area where I met my husband and began my life as it is today. While we grew in distance we grew closer as friends. . . .With my wedding on the way, Heather was spending an awful lot of time and $$money$$ flying back and forth for the special occasion. A Mitten Lover at heart, Heather made the decision to make her move back home just after my nuptials. It was the greatest of news and I like to think my wedding made this happen! 3 years on the West Coast was FAR too long for me and Rachel to go with out. After some last minute moves, the girls settled into their house in Royal Oak and we’ve been making an effort to spend more time together ever since.
Rachel – Me – Heather
When Heather first moved home, we hoped to make her transition as easy as possible. We knew she was giving up an awful lot back in California to come here and while we wanted to jump up and down in excitement, we in no way wanted to diminish what she may be experiencing as she left her friends and career behind. This Christmas gift was actually inspired from the initial gift I gave Heather when she moved home. As a way of making her move a little lighter, I printed a Subway Art poster for her of all the most important places in San Diego.
After a lot of thought and creative digging, I came up with the idea to create a chalkboard design with a framed, finished feeling. I started by searching for the perfect backdrop. . . .Google. It’s as simple as that. I typed in “Chalk Board Back Drop” and tada! A thousand options. My advice is to look at the pixels and measurements and look for the largest option photo possible as this wont blur or distort when you go to stretch as a background. Below is my favorite option. It has a little dusty finish, a truly authentic feel:
Now me personally, I’m an Apple girl at ♥. I have the obvious experience with Office as I think it’s somewhat essential in this day and age but with a Graphic Artist for a father, we never owned a PC a day in our lives. I’d like to keep it that way. While I have recently acquired the entire Adobe Suite, I have yet to really master it. . . . so this little project will be put together in Pages. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it can be easily done in Word as well. To start I chose a 16”x 20″ page setting and stretched this fantastic chalkboard to reach each edge. (Adjust your margins to 0″.) I decided on a 16″x20″ layout because I will be printing these off at Costco. For the amazing price of $5.99 you can print a 16’x20″ photo on a lustre finish that’s the perfect touch for any piece of framed art. Not too matted but just enough shine, it’s a fantastic service and I LOVE the Costco Photo Center. So fast and always spot on!
Once the background was in place, it’s just a matter of creating your own design. I stuck with a similar layout for each girl but substituted fonts and words in each piece of work. Next, I downloaded SO many FREE Fonts from a variety of sites. You can google Free Font sites but from personal experience, I recommend getting on Pinterest and searching “free fonts”. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with. I found so many fun fonts, especially for a chalky feel. I must have spent 2 hours just downloading fonts. . . . This was by far the most time consuming portion of this project. (By the way you in NO way have to spend that much time or download as many fonts as I did. I just couldn’t help myself. . . I’m a freak like that!) Make sure to check out my pinned fonts here. Also, some of my favorite Chalkboard Fonts I found on the fantastic blog: The36thAvenue.com . She had some Excellent Fonts that I used in this project.
*Some of my personal font favorites are: Return To Sender, Scribble Box, Dirty Cursive, and Chalk Line Outline. I also love the font Broken Hearts for cutesy little heart images that can really accent a project! ( I do a lot of prints for weddings so this in turn is a GREAT font for me.).
After I decided on fonts and what not (obviously the most important part of this post!!), I simply would insert a text box for each word I wanted to use to describe the girls. I would resize each box to fit the desired space, use a multitude of type sizes, fonts, etc. and then finish it off by making each word White as to appear the color of chalk on a board. . . . the finished product turned out a little something like this!
I can’t express how excited I am to get these printed! I think they turned out so fantastic and can hardly wait to find the perfect white frames to finish them off. Upon finishing such a project I can honestly say that my imagination is running absolutely wild. I can’t stop thinking of the next best print I can come up with! If you’ve had a chance to check out my Etsy site, you will see that I had previously designed some rustic prints for your special day but now that I’ve created this personal gift, I can’t wait to craft, craft, craft! Have you crafted any gifts this season?? IF so PLEASE Share!
*SideNote: Any recommendations on Netflix shows you have enjoyed? I am always looking for the next best show! (Even if it is 10 years ago!!) HaHa Thanks!! 🙂
♥ – C